A trained business administrator, Carolyn J. Upshaw currently devotes a great deal of time to her hobbies and charity work. Participating in several walk-a-thons on an annual basis, she most recently walked five miles in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Carolyn Upshaw’s contributions to the JDRF are particularly important to her because several of her loved ones suffer from diabetes.
JDRF is the leading organization in the world that focuses exclusively on fighting type-1 diabetes. Among its various scientific studies, JDRF sponsors comprehensive beta cell replacement research.
Grouped into clusters of tissue called islets, beta cells are responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas. By replacing these cells in diabetic patients, researchers are working toward a future in which insulin shots will no longer be necessary.
Beta cell islet transplants have yet to achieve widespread popularity because not enough islets are currently available and transplant recipients must take powerful drugs that weaken the immune system. However, encapsulated beta cell replacement therapies have the potential to overcome both these obstacles.